President Obama has faced some incredibly difficult situations in his presidency. But he has faced perhaps none more dire than the danger we are confronting in the rise of a new, stronger radical Islam.
To this end, it is my hope that this year’s State of the Union will be different than President Obama’s previous addresses in that it will be specific and focused rather than rhetorical. The challenges we face are too serious to hear more about hope and change – we need action.
Foreign policy and, specifically, the war on terror should be the focal point of his speech. Especially considering last week’s attack in Paris and the United States’s failure to stand with world leaders at the march on Sunday – President Obama himself, VP Biden or Secretary of State John Kerry – the President has a lot of ground to make up.
I will be looking for the President to admit that we are at war with radical Islam, much like Egyptian President el-Sisi did in his address last Friday. And for him to lay out clear and actionable steps that we can take as a nation, and an international community, to combat this extremism that shows no signs of abating as ISIS and other terror groups continue to grow in size and power.
On the economy, the President should highlight how well it’s doing and the role that he has played in overseeing the swiftest recovery of any nation. He has a lot to be proud of including sustained growth and maintaining unemployment under 6%, but challenges remain.
President Obama must lay out a series of pro-growth policies the administration can own in order to continue our economic recovery. This should include investment in infrastructure, but also entitlement reform. This will be not only a good economic boost, but will also help us to deal with our spiraling debt and deficit.
At the same time, the President should reiterate support for the programs that are working like Medicare Part D, which enjoys over an 80% approval rate. Highlighting what’s working is just as important as discussing what needs to be improved.